When a legislative committee meets to talk about possible changes to the Texas Public Information Act, it's time to pay attention.Even more so if the agenda includes the law's impact on government contractors and its provisions on "frivolous" open records requests.Testimony at a Monday public hearing of the Senate Committee on Open Government suggested that the public information law needs some clarifying -- primarily to ensure openness when government entities or their adjuncts resist it.Here are some ways the Legislature could update the TIPA:■ Make crystal clear that public officials and employees can't circumvent open records provisions by using private accounts to do public business.The act gives any member of the public access to documents relating to official activities. That includes e-mails and, according to the Texas Attorney General's Office, text messages, whether the communicating occurred on government accounts or private ones. Under that interpretation, Facebook and Twitter messages would be covered.Some officials balk at the notion that even their private accounts are subject to open records requests.Assistant Attorney General Amanda Crawford, chief of the open records division, spoke about a court case in which Lubbock City Council members are resisting an AG's ruling that their text messages exchanged during a council meeting are public information. In separate litigation, she said, a Bexar County commissioner is challenging rulings by the AG and a district court holding that e-mails on a private account must be released because they involve public business.In Fort Worth, some school board members have been caught exchanging questionable texts during meetings. City Council members can often be seen on their phones while in public sessions.■ Make clear that records of government contractors operating prisons, roads, information technology and other services are transparent and accessible.Terri Burke, testifying for the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas, suggested expanding the law to cover records of companies that perform traditional government functions. With the state increasingly outsourcing such work, that's a change well worth considering.■ Make clear that e-mails involving public business must be retained by government offices or other entities covered by the open records law. A few years back, it came to light that Gov. Rick Perry's office automatically deleted e-mails after seven days. His staff would print missives covered by the law, which apparently is acceptable to the AG's office.However, as testimony during Monday's hearing pointed out, electronic documents are far easier to search than paper ones. And if e-mails are being deleted, who's to know for sure that the ones that should be kept as printouts actually are?It's notable that the Travis County Attorney recently concluded after looking into e-mails, texts, cell phone records and other documents produced by Austin City Council members that they often "deliberated outside of the public's purview," in violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act. (bit.ly/VG7itj)■ Be cautious about imposing new restrictions to curb "overly burdensome" or "frivolous" open records requests.The law already allows for charges to cover labor and copying costs of producing documents for a requester. And while there are individuals who deliberately seek voluminous materials as a way of bogging down operations, some agencies also incur unnecessary expenses by delaying or refusing requests, even litigating attorney general decisions siding in favor of openness.